Can Art be separated from the Artist?

CanArt be separated from the Artist?

Artistsare public figures whose personal lives always affect theirreputation. Over the centuries, some of these individuals have beenaccused of various indiscretions, which pose the question whethertheir work should be judged according to their actions (Anthony). Inmost cases, people acknowledge great arts without evaluating thembased on artist’s personality and actions (Harsanyi). There havebeen instances where the artists have committed crimes againsthumanity, but their productions are still acknowledged andappreciated. It has created a culture of tolerance for unethicalbehavior perpetrated by the famous and talented in the communitybecause people hardly believe the victims (Finley 45). However, thepersonal life of artists should reflect on their work becausesometimes the productions show the artist’s morals, which have aprofound influence on the society, especially young people.

Thereare numerous cases where artists have been accused of wrongdoings,but it has not affected the public’s perception of their work.Nonetheless, the society, particularly the media, should not tolerateimmoral behavior even if the perpetrators are famous artists. Forinstance, Woody Allen was accused of molesting his 7-year-olddaughter, Dylan Farrow, but the prosecutor did not file any charges(Weide). After the accusation, Allen won an award from Golden Globes.Besides, the actors who worked for Allen were rarely asked to addressthe sexual assault scandal (Weide). On the other hand, the people whoacknowledged Farrow’s accusation had little to say about it. Farrowclaimed that the sexual abuse impacted her because the perpetratorgot away with it (Anthony). Similarly, Bill Cosby was charged withsexual assault on various women. The people kept ignoring theaccusations for years. However, the issue was given great focus whenanother comedian, Hannibal Buress, supported the claims that Cosbywas a rapist. Therefore, the press and the public only paid attentionto the accusations because they were addressed by a famousindividual otherwise, they would go unnoticed no matter how manywomen came forward to accuse Cosby. These cases are similar to NateParker’s situation where he was charged with raping a woman at thePenn State University in 1999 (Kathleen). It is evident that thesociety chose to ignore the victims’ claims by pretending nothinghappened while others praised these individual for their greatproductions and contributions to the community. The networks invitedthem as guests on talk shows and critics put them on magazines(Harsanyi). Besides, many people resist referring to these artists asrapists or sex offenders, which indicates that they do not supportthe accusations made against them (Finley 45). Hence, it shows thatthe society is reluctant to punish these individuals for theirwrongdoings.

Theartists and the art are the same because the production mainlyportrays the producer’s perception of the society and their view onvarious moral aspects. Accordingly, the artists are in the bestposition to influence positive change in the community because theyhave a broad platform and command respect and admiration from thepeople. However, some actions by these celebrities cast doubts on theauthenticity and impact of their work. Sometimes, it is hard toestablish the reason behind some productions or the impact theartists intend their work to have on the society. For example, BillCosby’s film, Iam a Spy,can be indirectly related to the vices he is accused of committingbecause it portrays women being drugged and raped. Likewise, NateParker`s film, TheBirth of a Nation,depicts gang rape as the central theme of the story (Kathleen).Finley explains that “such works make women feel less powerful”(45).Therefore,appreciating these producers indicate that the society agrees withthe message they are trying to pass on to the youths instead ofcondemning their actions.

Thenagain, the justice system states that a person should be charged ifthey are found guilty beyond reasonable doubts. The same guidelineshould be applied in the society to ensure that they only honorsomeone who is above suspicion (Harsanyi). Moreover, acknowledgingthe work of such artists show that the community condones immoralbehavior as long as it is committed by famous public figures. It goesfurther to undermine women who are mainly the victims of such actionsagainst humanity and morality (Harsanyi). Praising the works ofartists like Bill Cosby, Woody Allen, and Nate Parker is wrongbecause it downgrades the role of women in the country and causesmore suffering to the victims (Kathleen). Consequently, the behaviorsof these artists depict that men in the society can do anything theywant to women and still go unpunished.

Onthe other hand, the art and artists are intertwined because theirproductions and behaviors have an equally profound impact on thepeople. Therefore, the wrongdoings of a producer can have a negativeimpression on the young adults. The fans of these artists may emulatetheir lifestyles and behavior, which will increase depravity in thecountry (Harsanyi). Hence, acknowledging the works of such artistssignifies that the society is willing to condone immoral acts such asrape just because they were committed by a celebrity. Consequently,the country is creating a cycle of immorality by teaching the youngpeople to accept wrongdoings (Finley 43). For instance, despite thefact that Woody Allen was accused of molesting his seven-year-olddaughter, he was still honored by the Golden Globes (Anthony). Thus,acknowledging his work may seem like a way of ignoring his wickedacts. Although it was not proven beyond reasonable doubts that he wasguilty, appreciation depicts the idea that such actions areacceptable. The same case applies to Bill Cosby who was accused ofsexually abusing several women (Finley 43). Despite the accusation,his fan base continued to increase because the media still held hiswork in high regard. Thus, the young people may end up thinking thatit is right to violate the laws and social norms and still becomestars. Accordingly, the society should stop the cycle of abuse bydiscrediting such artists and refusing to recognize their works untilthey are proven innocent.

Furthermore,the laws should be applied equally to all people despite their socialstandings. The artists who violate the law should be put on trial toallow the legal system to determine whether they are guilty or not.For example, the prosecutor failed to press charges in Allen’s caseindicating that the artist was not guilty beyond reasonable doubts(Harsanyi). Nonetheless, a person has to go through the legal processfor the jury and the court to make that determination. Recognizingand appreciating of the works of such artists shows that aninfluential person can offend or abuse others without facing anyconsequences. Despite the accusations against Bill Cosby, WoodyAllen, and Nate Parker, none of them has ever been found guilty(Kathleen). For example, in Bill Cosby’s case, the court indicatedthat the evidence was not enough to charge him with the crimes. Thesame argument applies to Woody Allen whom the court claimed thatdespite the evidence presented and cross-examination of the witness,the accuser could not prove that he committed the offense (Anthony).These incidents show that justice is not applied equally because therich and the powerful are not punished for their crimes. Then again,accrediting the works of immoral individuals can damage thereputation of the country. For instance, in the case of Bill Cosby,it is evident that other artists are not happy with his actionsdespite the society acknowledging him as a great producer (Anthony).When a country appreciated the works of artists accused of offensesagainst human rights, questions are raised regarding the integrity ofits citizens. Therefore, unless things change, the country is headingin the wrong direction if individuals who commit such vices areapplauded.

Evenso, some people argue that recognizing the work of such artistsdespite their indiscretions indicates that the community is onlypromoting talents and not the immoral behavior. Therefore, suchclaims show that the private life of the artists should be separatedfrom their work. People argue that placing such individuals on thelimelight might influence them to leave their wicked ways. Otherscontend that an artist’s work should be appreciated because he orshe might have changed to be a better person who has made positivecontributions to the community. For instance, Woody Allen accusationsdate back in the 1990s thus, he could be a very different person,and he does not deserve to be judged that harshly (Anthony).Nonetheless, these assumptions are wrong because the artist’s worksstill portray their perception of morality.

Inconclusion, artists should lead morally upright lives because theyare role models to most people, especially the young adults. Theseindividuals are in a better position to advocate for positive changesin the society. However, when artists are the ones being accused ofcommitting immoral acts, they should be held accountable. The work ofthe producers also reflects their personality. Therefore, if suchpeople are appreciated for their productions, they will pass theirimmoral behavior to the younger generation through their work. Thishas been witnessed in the productions of Nate Parker and Bill Crosbywho depict violent acts against women, which conforms to the sameissues they were accused of, yet they were never prosecuted. The workof art is an ethical agent, which shows the producer’s moralperception. It will not be shocking if the youths emulate suchactions. The trend also demonstrates the ambiguity of the country’sjustice system. Some of the famous artists get away with sexualassault despite evidence from multiple victims, which show prejudicein the application of the law. Therefore, it undermines the legalsystem and damages the reputation of the country. The society shouldnot tolerate such behavior. Instead, they should be evaluating everyproduction based on the artist’s personality and actions toguarantee that they do not spread immoral behavior. Hence, even ifartists aim is to entertain, their work and activities should portraythe best practices in the society while condemning immorality.


Anthony,Andrew. “Bill Cosby: A Dark Cloud Now Hangs Over American Dads.”TheGuardian,23 Nov. 2014. Web. 4 Nov. 2016.

Finley,Laura L. DomesticAbuse and Sexual Assault in Popular Culture.Santa Barbara, California: Praeger, 2016. Print.

Harsanyi,David. “Can we separate the art from the artist? In Woody Allen’scase, it’s the same thing.”TheFederalist,5Feb. 2015. Web. 4 Nov. 2016.

Kathleen.‘The Problem with Nate Parker.” LaineyGossip,15 Aug. 2016. Web. 4 Nov. 2016.

Weide,Robert. “The Woody Allen Allegations: Not So Fast.” TheDaily Beast,27 Jan. 2014. Web. 4 Nov. 2016.